The new youth isolation toolkit gathers together various pieces of evidence about the shocking scale of the problem of loneliness among young people in the UK, and the impact that it can have on the young people affected and on society generally.
While many people are aware of the problem of loneliness amongst older people, fewer are aware that the problem is hugely prevalent among younger people too – in fact, studies show that young adults are the most likely group in the UK to experience feelings of loneliness.
The information pack also explores which young people are most at risk of experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, and why feelings of loneliness are not generally associated with people’s personalities, but with their circumstances and situations – often their health and economic status, or their identities. It is helpful for people to be aware of these so that they can identify who might be most at risk in their community.
Neighbourhood Watch is keen to raise awareness of the problem of loneliness and isolation among young people because young people who experience these can be more vulnerable to becoming victims of crime – particularly high-harm crimes such as child sexual exploitation or county lines drugs gangs. This is of particular concern at this time when physical distancing due to COVID-19 means young people are not able to physically meet up with their friends and socialise, and may feel even more isolated.
The toolkit signposts people to a host of online services and guidance that can help young people who may be suffering from loneliness and isolation, and to resources that they can use to help spread the word about the problem locally, so that other members of the community, family members, friends or neighbours of young people can help too. It also gives guidance for parents on how to talk to young people about their feelings – at a time when families have more time to do so.
The youth isolation information pack and toolkit is the latest in a series of such resources that Neighbourhood Watch has created to help the public become aware of new types of crime that are happening in the UK, and of risks that can create fertile ground for criminal activity to flourish.
There are crime prevention toolkits on terrorism, child sexual exploitation, scams, domestic abuse, burglaries and serious violence – these can all be found at https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/help-and-advice/toolkits.
The reducing youth isolation pack is one of the ‘reducing risks’ toolkits, alongside reducing loneliness and vulnerability – see https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/crime-prevention/reducing-risk-toolkits.